Your Mind is a Cosmic Space Donut

In the late eighties, when I was in high school, there was a kid named Wylie who sat in front of me in Washington State History class. I wouldn’t say we were friends, but casual acquaintances. Wylie got in a serious motorcycle accident and spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital. One morning…

Tales of Two Cities

I live a minute and twenty-three seconds away from one of the finest bakeries in Seattle, Bakery Nouveau, a purveyor of croissants and macarons that has improved the quality of my life to the detriment of my waistline. The bakery is across the street from a small park called Williams Place, where some of my…

A Blind Argentinian Librarian Predicted the Singularity in 1940

I woke up this morning to another story in what seems to be an accelerating series of news items about the evolution of artificial intelligence. Barely awake, I learned that Google has developed a new Go-playing AI that taught itself mastery of the game without any human input beyond the game’s rules. My thoughts immediately…

Response to the Letter from Seattle Civic Leaders to Amazon

Dear Civic Leaders of Seattle, I am deeply embarrassed on your behalf after reading your letter to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and John Schoettler. As someone who worked for Amazon twice for a total of five years, and as a citizen who spent two years working with the city on a cultural diplomacy project that didn’t…

Book Review: The Four, by Scott Galloway

In spring 2000, I left Amazon to join a startup called Drugstore.com. My official title was Email Communications Editor. At age 27, Amazon was the first corporation I had ever worked for and I assumed all Internet-based companies operated pretty much like Amazon. Wow, was I ever wrong. Drugstore.com turned out to be a miserable…

Imagine AI and VR 100 Years from Now

Futurists have figured out the most failure-proof job–no one will live long enough to find out whether they’re good at it. Futurism is a sort of applied science fiction. Those of us who have adult memories from the twentieth century have experienced wonders that rival the science fiction of our childhoods. Start with the artificial…

Year One at CoMotion Labs

Yesterday I caught up with Elizabeth Scallon, the Associate Director of CoMotion Labs. It’s been a little over a year since I started renting a desk at this VR/AR startup incubator overseen by the University of Washington. I’ve seen a couple startups come and go, while others, like Mechanical Dreams, Invrse, and Pear Med, have…